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Skip to comments.Can John MacArthur - Calvinist - differentiate b/w the never saved & the out of fellowship w/Christ?
Posted on 11/04/2013 3:12:35 PM PST by Laissez-faire capitalist
Can John F. MacArthur - or any other Calvinist - please differentiate between (or what constitutes the difference between) those who were truly never saved, and those who are saved, but are now living "out of fellowship" with Christ?
I have read in the MacArthur Bible where he seems to boil it down to... by their fruits shall ye know them.
But how much bad fruit or lack of good fruit does one have to show to give evidence that they were never saved, or that they are still saved, but have merely fallen out of fellowship with Christ?
Example: A young man goes down to the altar, several hear him accept Christ into his life. A few years later he goes off to Bible college and graduates, accepts a youth pastor position, and then a few years later falls into sin, deep sin, whatever.
Half the church where he was the youth pastor says that he was never saved to begin with, and that he somehow duped them. The other half says that he is still saved, but has fallen into - yes - deep sin, but nonetheless is just "fallen out of fellowship" with Christ.
Which half of the church can prove with absolute accuracy that they are the half that is correct?
are there some cases where Jesus said "let them [the tares and the wheat" grow up together and at ther end of the age the Lord will reveal who was and wasn't saved.
Problem is, could this all apply to your/any pastor - even to John F. MacArthur himself?
Only the absolute [God Almighty] can know with absolute certainty.
“How many backsliders can dance on the head of a pin?”
If you persevere to the end, then you were saved.
One has relevance (this thread), the other - “angels dancing on the head of a pin” - really doesn't in the long run.
Who is saved? How about your pastor? Is he duping you? Is the person sitting next to you in the pew truly saved?
Are you saved? Or is your heart deceiving you?
The Bible says that the heart is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”
That is then - future - but what about now?
No one knows for sure on the eternal fate of his neighbor. As far as the example above the so called ‘sinful’ person could have done many good works before passing...if you believe that good works alone will deliver you.
We know the best good works are those low profile acts known only to God.
I’m interested to hear what JM has to say about this too. btw his last few shows that politely dismantled the charismatics were a good listen.
I certainly appreciate John MacArthur and enjoy listening to him almost nightly but what "deep sin" did he commit?
I once has a Calvinist as a teacher who insisted that once you’re saved you’re always saved. A student asked him “well, what about those that were Christians, and then turned against their faith?”
“Well, they were never saved in the first place”
“But they believed they were, while they weren’t. How can we know that we are truly saved then?
“We can’t. We won’t know for sure until we’re in heaven.”
So basically, there is security in your faith as a Calvinist. One of the many reasons I reject Calvinism.
I never said that MacArthur committed any “deep sin.”
I never said that MacArthur was the example of the young man who goes off to Bible college, graduates, accepts a youth pastor position falls into deep sin, whataver. He isn’t.
That was just an example to spur inquiry.
Thus, I used: “Example...”
Sorry if you accidentally conflated things.
Would that teacher, in your opinion, say that what he said could be applied to any pastor/preacher, even himself - even MacArthur?
>> One has relevance (this thread)
It does? Really?
Please explain answering this question, which I *can’t possibly* answer (and neither can *you*, it’s above our pay grade) change in the tiniest way how I must live as a Christian?
I’m not saying it’s not an interesting theological question, and I’m not saying it’s out of line to ask it.
But yes, I *am* saying it’s as irrelevant to my spiritual behavior and outcome as the angels/pinhead question.
8...Or 6 fat ones...
IMHO, he actually torpedoed the Word of Faith crowd more than anyone else.
Then again, this thread torpedoes a major Calvinistic belief. There is no way that they can truly differentiate b/w the never saved and those who are still saved, just “merely out of fellowship.”
Thus the unknowability of which Calvinist preacher/teacher/lay person is or isn’t saved.
It could very well be that in some cases enough time just hasn’t passed to unmask them.
A true statement. God does give us His Word as an assurance of salvation.
I am curious at a blog post that discusses such a serious matter but does not present scriptures.
Your friend’s response saddens me. Don’t judge Calvinism based on his half-baked answer. I wish I had time to get into this discussion now, but all I have time to say is that I lacked real assurance until I understood and accepted the Doctrines of Grace. Next to being saved, that understanding was the best thing that ever happened to me.
If you are saved, then it was by grace before the foundation of the earth. And if you are saved now, then you will persevere to the end. If you fall away, then you were never really saved.
So although from a temporal standpoint, your salvation is secured on earth by grace through faith, from God’s viewpoint you were saved from the foundation of the earth.
Are you concerned for your own salvation, or are you speculating as to the salvation of others?
By whose power have you been saved? Is it by the power of your own temporal decision or actions or works, or by the power and grace of God alone?
All I asked is that how can you, me, MacArthur, anyone, prove who was never saved in the first place and who are still saved, but just merely fallen out of fellowship with Christ?
And you avoided it with an apples to oranges argument -— which was the using of a red herring on your part, too, btw.
Calvinistic and Armenian doctrines are very important to study and inquire into - as to which can be proven with absolute certainty.
>> The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?
The Bible *also* includes three epistles of John, the first of which lays out a lot of good background information about your question, if not a black-and-white answer to it.
Read it all, but for the sake of a pithy quotable verse: :-)
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (5:13)
How do you know that your “assurance” is truly real? Can one’s own heart deceive them?
“Would that teacher, in your opinion, say that what he said could be applied to any pastor/preacher, even himself - even MacArthur?”
I would say that he’d answer publicly that he doesn’t know for sure if himself or McArther are going to heaven(although he’d have a pretty darn good hunch he was going to heaven for being such a wonderful man).
Calvinism kind of strips out the importance of belief and acceptance of Christ. If God wanted you to go to hell, when he created you, he’s going to make damn sure.
So one can know for themself, but not if the preacher in the pulpit is truly saved?
But What John wrote only applied to those who truly believed. Who didn’t believe, but thought they did?
Yes that is in several places in the NT especially Revelation chapters 1-3. The blog that started this thread concerns me, because it seems this is not a hypothetical question but something witnessed. MacArthur gave an interview on his book "The Gospel according to Jesus Christ" where he gave some personal encounters of people who professed to be Christian and then later became atheists or boastful repeating sinners. Some went to college and seminary with him.
But I digress. If we fail to know that God is Sovereign in Salvation, then these matters will continuously bug some. There is always the point of properly defining words. Repent means to turn away from our sins. Faithfulness is congruent to faith. What I would be interested in finding out is if the example of the youth pastor has an ending story. Does he ever come back? IMO if he is saved, he will come back and confess and repent and rejoin fellowship. If he doesn't IMO, he never knew Christ.
>> Calvinistic and Armenian doctrines are very important to study and inquire into
They are! I’d suggest beginning your study and inquiry by learning the proper spelling of “Arminian”. :-)
(Just yanking your halo. I’ve done it too. Ask xzins)
What’s your point? Are you troubled over a friend and should we offer our prayers for them? If so PM me and we can get a prayer request thread going.
>> So one can know for themself
>> but not if the preacher in the pulpit is truly saved?
No. WAAAAAY above my pay grade to “know” if ANYone other than me is saved. I can hold opinions though, and those opinions, open to the guidance of the Spirit, can guide my interactions with others.
Check out Romans 10 (in part here, emphasis of course is mine):
Romans 10:5-11 (ESV)
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down)
7 or Who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8 But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
>>>>>> 10 For with the heart one believes <<<<<<
and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.
Got to post #12 and not one Bible passage or verse is presented. Perhaps you should start there and the rest will follow since you started this thread. Let’s start with your opinion on whether the young youth pastor is saved or never was in the first place. Then present the Scriptures defending your position.
I am not a Calvinist, but will make note that you or no one here has "torpedoed" Calvinism. Who really cares? Present your argument from the Bible and I am sure many will respond.
Boom, there it is. Good post.
Then again, this thread torpedoes a major Calvinistic belief. There is no way that they can truly differentiate b/w the never saved and those who are still saved, just merely out of fellowship.
We don't have to.
Not for those who have Christ abide in them and them abide in Him. Tricky proposal huh? But we do know from the Words of Christ that He chooses us:
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should remain, in order that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. 17 These things I command you: that you love one another.
Your questions seem to have a Genesis 3 and Matthew 4 tone to them. Both very bad examples.
We cant. We wont know for sure until were in heaven.
Absolutely. You don’t look within, you look to Christ!
>> Your questions seem to have a Genesis 3 and Matthew 4 tone to them.
Ouch! That was harsh, brother. I don’t think I’d go *that* far.
CAN one’s own heart deceive them? That’s an honest question. One’s heart can certainly be “turned” by the LORD He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and “The kings heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (prov. 21:1). Can Diabolos (the Twister) turn a man’s heart?
You’re taking this scripture waaay out of context. Christ was speaking to the disciples he just chose. Not regarding the salvation of the human race.
Ever heard of John 3:16 before?
I like the unpacking of 2 Chronicles 7:14 found on your homepage. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it.
The answer is much easier than you think.
Actually, this is more of a problem for the Calvinist. While the Armenian can affirm such one was born again based "things which accompany salvation," (Heb. 6:9,10) though they later backslid, under Perseverance of the saints, no matter how much one has evidenced "things which accompany salvation," if they die in impenitent adultery, etc., are relegated to having never been born again.
But the biggest problem are modern day antinomians who suppose men living in willful impenitent sin are saved as long as they profess to trust Jesus to save them.
The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?
If that meant no one absolutely could, than no one could, but Peter did, (Acts 8:21-23) for "he that is spiritual judgeth all things.." (1 Corinthians 2:15)
Thus Paul knew the Thessalonians were elect in the light of their testimony, (1Ths. 1:1-10) and the writer of Hebrews also was persuaded by evidence of regeneration. (Heb. 5:9)
Moreover, the Holy Spirit provides descriptions of saving faith by which one may know they have eternal life, (1Jn. 5:13), while Peter provides for how one can never fall, (2Pt. 1:1-11) but which the Bible does warn against. (Gal. 5:1-4; Heb. 3:6,12,14; 10:25-39)
Saving faith is characterized the "obedience of faith," which includes repentance when convicted of not doing so, David effectively denied the Lord by His sins, but immediately repented when he realized his guilt (which he somehow must have sublimated) when fingered by Nathan.
Thus the Lord chastens us unto repentance, "that we should not be condemned with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:32)
Thanks be to God. We need faith in the Lord to save us as well as to perfect that which concerneth us, looking unto Jesus "the author and finisher of our faith," rather than having an evil heart of unbelief, in "departing from the living God," drawing back unto perdition.
“So basically, there is security in your faith as a Calvinist. One of the many reasons I reject Calvinism.”
It’s a security wrought from the Bible, which declares that whoever leaves the faith, was never a part of it to begin with:
1Jn_2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
But the false premise of your argument is that men are justified by a mere intellectual assent, which, in that case, even Demons could be said to be believers. The faith in Christ that a believer has is founded within the heart, and shews itself by its new way of living. This person may not be perfect. This person, indeed, may be a rotten sinner, who every day fails, but his faith is such that he can cry out, like Saint Paul, with the following words:
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
One can know a Christian by the degree he hates himself, and despairs of himself, to never be saved by his own working and willing, but gives it all to God as the source and author of his salvation.
Indeed, and thus lives it out. Versus those who trust their merit and or church, or that God will save them in His mercy but not on Christ's account,
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)
Ahhh, but thats the rub isnt it...how do you define “fall away”? And how long do you have to fall away before you arent saved any longer? Let me give you my example to highlight the point.
I was saved at a young age and continued in the faith through college. However, I joined a fraternity in college and became addicted to alcohol. I struggled for several years with my addiction and every time I drank I cried out to God for help. I was not active in a church during that time, but I never denied God. During that time away, some would have seen no fruit and little evidence of my faith (except that the folks at my favorite bar nicknamed me preacher because I talked about Jesus all of the time). By His Grace I overcame my reliance and now dont have the slightest desire for alcohol. The point is this, what amount of fruit is sufficient to maintain salvation? Who has to see that fruit (MacArthur?). What form must that fruit hold? How much time does a believer have to fall and then come back? Was I not saved until I returned to the faith the second time? Each case is unique and only God truly knows.
Of course. The entire discourse is important. We must go beyond that one verse for the full context.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
I can see it could be harsh. Not my intent. My intent was to point out only the adversary sows doubt. We as the Body of Christ encourage and exhort. So if I offended, my apologies.
On another note I am living proof (I know there are many others here too) that The Good Shepherd is faithful and true to smack us up side the head to get you back on the straight path. He is faithful and true to test our faith by putting it through the fire (reference Abraham and David).
This is done for us because He loves us. If someone wants assurance of their salvation then pray God tests your faith like He did by telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Then gird your loins because God will be faithful and true in answering that prayer. God’s Almighty Divine Hand will move mountains to prove His control in our lives. His Grace is truly Amazing!
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:18)
>> (I know there are many others here too) that The Good Shepherd is faithful and true to smack us up side the head to get you back on the straight path.
I am one.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 24,25)
ALL things are by grace. As is our perseverance.
Romans 8: 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.